Call for papers

The aim of this conference is to contribute to the creation of an interdisciplinary community of researchers working in the fields of oral history, memory studies and the biographical approach in the social sciences. Researchers from different disciplines use life stories to explore human lived experiences, the multiple interconnections between the individual and society, the ways in which subjectivities are constructed and determined by social and historical factors. Oral history and the biographical approach provide excellent tools to explore how social agents face abrupt social change and ruptures in their daily lives, related to political or economic crisis, (forced) migration, the deregularization of labour relations and the deconstruction of the welfare state. Oral history has been also linked to the democratization of history and to the emergence of subjects that had been excluded from the narratives of history. To what extent has oral history been recognized as a legitimate field of historical knowledge?

In this conference we want to take stock of the developments in these fields in Greece over the last ten years and to link them to the theoretical and methodological debates going on elsewhere in the world. A central question which concerns us is whether the institutional recognition of oral history, as well as the “memory boom” of the 1990s and the use of digital media in mass communications have moved oral history away from its initial objectives: to contribute to a critical approach to social phenomena and to connect historical and social research with the communities we study. In the period of crisis we are living through, this question acquires new meanings. With the participation of leading scholars in the field, the conference aims to create a space where old and new generations can meet and exchange their knowledge. The title of the conference “bridging generations” thus concerns both the narrative interview itself, where knowledge and meanings are transmitted from one generation to the next, and the encounter between two generations of researchers involved with biographical research. A second goal of the conference is to create a Greek Oral History Association as a new national section of the International Oral History Association.